What to Eat to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

If you’re working out but not seeing the results you hoped for, it may have less to do with what you’re doing wrong in the gym and more to do with what’s going on in the kitchen.

The foods you eat play a huge role in the benefits you gain from exercise, whether you’re trying to slim down or bulk up. To get the best results, it may help to look at how a few changes to your diet could make all the difference.

Slimming down

When it comes to losing weight, protein, carbohydrates and fat are important to consider. But how much fiber you’re getting in may be just as important. Studies have shown that high-fiber foods have many health benefits and may contribute to weight loss by helping you feel fuller longer.

Carbohydrates

Barley is a carbohydrate that has many health benefits and is high in soluble fiber to keep you feeling full. Acorn squash is another high-fiber carb, and it’s also high in vitamin C, which some studies link to fat burning when combined with exercise.

Protein

Spinach is high in protein and other vitamins and minerals. It’s also very low in calories, making it a great choice for weight loss. Artichokes are also high in protein, with the added bonus of being high in fiber to ward of hunger. In the fruit category, guava is high in protein and fiber, making it a win-win in weight loss foods.

Fats

It seems contradictory to add fat to your diet to lose weight, but studies show that certain foods known for their high fat content can have a positive effect on weight loss. For example, olive oil may boost fat-reducing hormones such as adiponectin. In addition, the choline found in egg yolks can aid in reducing fat stored around your liver.

Bulking up

A good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat is also important for building muscle. While many trainers focus on high-protein consumption for building muscle mass, studies have led to disagreement as to whether the current recommended daily allowance (RDA) is adequate.

Carbohydrates

Testosterone is a hormone that’s largely responsible for muscle growth. As hormones levels rise when insulin levels are low, it’s important to avoid foods that will spike your blood sugar. Choose complex carbs such as oats, potatoes and beans over simple carbs, as they take longer to enter the bloodstream.

Protein

Some experts believe those who perform strengthen-training workouts burn through protein faster than the average sedentary person. As protein can have a positive effect on growth hormones, it’s important to consume healthy proteins such as organic grass-fed meat, cottage cheese, eggs, tuna and salmon.

Fats

Good fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, are important for muscle growth, as they also promote growth hormone production. Almonds, olive oil and various oily fish are all good sources of healthy fats.

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